From Cincinnati to Seattle by God’s hand
I ended up in Seattle solely by the providence of God. When I arrived in February of 2006 I was not a Christian. Now, I’m serving as an urban missionary in what used to be the most unchurched city in the nation, living by faith that God will provide all that is needed by first seeking Him and His kingdom.
I was raised in a non-christian home. My parents divorced when I was young so I grew up in a split home. By the time I graduated High School I was ready for a new landscape so I joined the Navy and left home in hopes of setting my life on the right track, getting education, seeing the world and having some income. I applied myself and did well so was selected to become an officer through one of the commissioning programs.
I went to the University of Illinois for three years and was commissioned as an officer upon graduation. Twenty-five at that point, i had lived my teen and college years as your typical guy, going out and partying, looking for women, and anything else I thought might fill the void that was in me. At the same time I had a growing despair and desperation inside of me.
From submarine officer to un-paid intern
Dissatisfied with life, I arrived in Seattle in early 2006 to serve my junior officer tour on a U.S. Submarine. I had decided at some point that I was finally going to give this Jesus guy a try. So I started my “psychological experiment” and tried out the Christianity, or so I thought. I bought a bible and started going to church.
As I was reading through the books of Acts and Romans something was different inside of me. I was considering for the first time what if all of this stuff was true. I knew that if it was true it would change everything. I was intrigued looking at the life of the early church. The early converts had nothing to gain and everything to lose by becoming a follower of Jesus, one who was crucified himself. And yet, today Jesus has left the largest legacy the world has ever known. I became convinced that there must be something there.
God’s transforming power in my life
God’s Spirit started to work more furiously in my heart and I sought out answers to Christianity, reading as many books as I could and continuing in the Bible. Four months later, during my second week of being out to sea for the first time on submarine, I finally relented and gave my life to Christ. I didn’t ask Him to deliver me from the trials that lie ahead, but to walk with me through them.
From that moment on, I started experience the peace that the bible talks about and God began a reconstruction project in my heart, teaching me to trust and love Him through what would be the most difficult three years of my life. I started to see powerful change in the life I was living. My desires were changing for Jesus.
I loved Jesus and wanted to learn more about him.
I found Mars Hill Church about 9 months after my conversion and have been here ever since. My final three years of submarine service proved to be life changing as God was transforming me and grew in me an intensely deep desire to study and learn the Bible. I wanted to learn about the Gospel that was changing my life and in turn tell others about it. I wanted to preach the gospel with my whole life.
I considered the call of church planting and vocational ministry.
Slowly over time, through His power I started to achieve victory over the sins I had struggled with and began to see the depth of sin that was in me. I stopped sleeping around, stopped looking at pornography, started serving in the Church and had a real desire for Bible Study.
Taking a leap of faith, I left the Navy in late 2009 to pursue this call to ministry. I completed a one-year unpaid internship at Mars Hill Church Downtown during which I receieved many opportunites to serve and learn about the church. I served as a service lead, membership coordinator, events coordinator, campus pastor assistant and promotions captain during my time. It has been a humbling yet very helpful season.
I met my wife in my 2008 in our community group. By God’s providence, she had moved up to Seattle from Florida on a travel nursing job to be near her brother. We dated for 18 months then got married in September of 2010. Marriage has been both wonderful and challenging and I look forward to seeing how God continues to grow us as one and use our family for His glory. She has beautiful heart and has been an incredible helper and encouragement in my life and I am truly thankful that God has given her to me.
God’s grace in opportunities
In October of 2010, shortly after I was married, God gave us a completely new opportunity to serve at Mars Hill. Our Children’s Ministry Director had found another position leaving his vacant. The church asked me to come in and fill that position temporarily. In God’s providence, nobody else came along and I have grown into the position myself. It has been and incredible honor and opportunity to serve the kids of downtown Seattle and their parents. I am excited to lead this ministry into the next season.
This has all been made possible through the generous support of others who love Jesus and his mission through an organization known as Great Commission Ministries. I came on board with GCM in June 2010 and have been raising support ever since. GCM’s mission is to serve local churches by mobilizing missionaries to support the great commission. For me that church is Mars Hill right now.
To every tribe and nation
My heart is that the gospel would go forth, not only in Seattle but in other cities as well. I hope to be a church planter or part of a church planting team that goes into the heart of Cincinnati, my home city. I want continue to be a part of what God is doing through Mars Hill and Acts 29. Our life has become about seeing lives transformed for Jesus, wherever God would have us serve, through a biblical Christ-centered marriage and family, spirit filled lives, and the preaching of His Word.